Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Mark Metzler


Ph.D., 1998, University of California, Berkeley

Professor
Mark Metzler

Contact

Biography


Research interests

Modern Japanese History; Global History; Historical Political Economy.

My newest book, co-authored with Simon Bytheway, is tentatively titled Tokyo • London • New York: Global Cities, Central Banks, and Gold. It will come out with Cornell University Press in 2016. This book examines the origins of modern central-bank cooperation during the first age of central-bank hegemony, which ended with the Great Depression of the 1930s. This phase of cooperation began, as we explore for the first time, with the Bank of England’s secretive use of large Bank of Japan funds on deposit in London at the beginning of the 20th century. During World War I, central-bank cooperation became multilateral, leading after 1919 to the first globally coordinated program of monetary policy. This program was essentially deflationary, and it served to preserve and enhance the value of the enormous structure of private bank credits that had been created during the war. The liberal rhetoric of free monetary flows was combined with actual practices that were collusive and bullionist, as revealed in the rush for gold that brought the immense credit/debt superstructure crashing down in the 1930s.

This book continues the investigation begun in my earlier book, Lever of Empire: The International Gold Standard and the Crisis of Liberalism in Prewar Japan (University of California Press, 2006). This book examines the financial side of Japanese empire building in the early 20th century and focuses particularly on the deliberate inducing of a series of economic depressions in the name of monetary and social stabilization. These "stabilization crises" culminated in the depression of 1929-1931; the fascist reactions that followed destroyed the prewar liberal system. Policies pioneered then, in Japan and around the world, are still with us today under the names of austerity and "structural adjustment."

I carry this investigation of Japan's conjunctural history into the second half of the 20th century in another book published with Cornell University Press in 2013, Capital as Will and Imagination: Schumpeter's Guide to the Postwar Japanese Miracle. This book investigates the nature of capital creation as a general problem in the history of capitalism, taking Japan's experience after World War II as a case study.  Asian-style high-speed growth, as pioneered in Japan in the 1950s, represents capitalist industrial development in its most intensified form. To understand this process, I turn to a neglected side of Joseph Schumpeter's theory of economic development: the nexus between money creation by banks, investment, and inflation. The shadow of credit is debt, and the worldwide debt bubbles of recent times reveal the limits of the 20th-century growth model. 

These studies form parts of a larger research program aimed at grasping the history of Japan in the long duration of centuries and in its wider East Asian and global contexts. As the next stage in this work, I'm now completing a global history of the late 19th century while continuing new research into Japan since the great bubble of 1989 in deep historical and ecological context.

Education

PhD in History (East Asia/Japan), University of California, Berkeley; MA in Comparative Social History, University of California, Santa Cruz; BA in International Relations, Stanford University. Additional coursework at Osaka City University, Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies, Yokohama, Beijing Language Institute, and the Freie Universitaet Berlin.

Courses taught

History of globalization, Japanese history (early modern through postwar), the political economy of Japan, capitalism and global history, empire and globalization in East Asia.

Affiliations

Kyoto University, Institute for Research in the Humanities, 2010–12. University of Tokyo, Institute of Social Science, 2003-04.


Courses


ANS 341K • Origins Of Modern Japan

30875 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 930am-1100am GAR 1.126
(also listed as HIS 341K)

FLAGS:   Wr  |  GC

Description

Same as Asian Studies 341K. This course examines Japan’s early modern age, from the end of the warring-states period in the 1500s to the stirrings of the industrial revolution in the mid 1800s.  The main focus is on the period of government by the Tokugawa shoguns (1600–1867), the final era of samurai rule.  Topics include social and economic change, national isolation and national opening, the Meiji revolution, and the origins of modern nationalism, imperialism, and democracy.   We pay special attention to the subjective experiences of Japanese men and women who lived and created Japan’s distinctive path to modernity.

Texts:

Conrad Totman, Early Modern Japan, University of California Press, 1993.

Katsu Kokichi, Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai, trans. Teruko Craig, University of Arizona Press, 1991.

Yamakawa Kikue, Women of the Mito Domain, trans. Kate Wildman Nakai, Stanford University Press, 2001.

And other readings TBA

Grading:

•   two midterm exams (worth 20% each)

•   two essays on class readings (15% each)

•   final exam (20%)

•   active class participation (10%). Attendance is required.

 

ANS 372 • East/West: Spirit/Intel Encoun

31935 • Fall 2014
Meets TH 1100am-200pm GAR 1.122
(also listed as HIS 350L)

This upper-division seminar provides a forum for exploring some spiritual and intellectual encounters of “East” and “West,” with a focus on ideas of mind, spirit, and consciousness. “East” and “West” are relative and relational terms, directions rather than places. They are relative, mutual, and shape-shifting. As metaphors they are generative and multivalent; when one starts to look, one finds many Easts and Wests at play, as various as the “Oriental philosophy” of Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Xuanzang’s “journey to the West” to discover the Heart Sutra, and the Zen journeys of the West Coast beatniks. In this exploration of comparisons and connections, we will encounter a full house of canonical figures including Zhuangzi, Zhu Xi, Avicenna, Ibn ‘Arabi, Hume, Swedenborg, Blake, Nietzsche, Tagore, and Jung, along with some brilliant but less well known thinkers. We will spend much of our time in the open spaces between civilizational control systems. Many of the texts are dense and difficult, reflections of deep and often distant traditions. They need to be read slowly and with care. They also repay sincere inquiry with new vistas and unexpected bounties.

Texts:

Readings include Joanna Macy, Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory; Jonathan Spence, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci; and many online readings TBA.

Grading:

1. Participation in class discussion:  one overall grade, worth 20% of the course grade.

2. Eight papers of 1.5 pages each on weekly readings (altogether, 40% of the course grade).

3. Midterm essay (20% of course grade).

4. Final essay (partial revision of midterm essay; 20%).

ANS 341K • Origins Of Modern Japan

32110 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am UTC 4.112
(also listed as HIS 341K)

Same as Asian Studies 341K. This course examines Japan’s early modern age, from the end of the warring-states period in the 1500s to the stirrings of the industrial revolution in the mid 1800s.  The main focus is on the period of government by the Tokugawa shoguns (1600–1867), the final era of samurai rule.  Topics include social and economic change, national isolation and national opening, the Meiji revolution, and the origins of modern nationalism, imperialism, and democracy.   We pay special attention to the subjective experiences of Japanese men and women who lived and created Japan’s distinctive path to modernity.

Global Cultures flag.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

Texts:

Conrad Totman, Early Modern Japan, University of California Press, 1993.

Katsu Kokichi, Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai, trans. Teruko Craig, University of Arizona Press, 1991.

Yamakawa Kikue, Women of the Mito Domain, trans. Kate Wildman Nakai, Stanford University Press, 2001.

And other readings TBA.

 Course requirements:•   two midterm exams (worth 20% each)

•   two essays on class readings (15% each)

•   final exam (20%)

•   active class participation (10%). Attendance is required.

ANS 341N • Postwar Japan

31805 • Fall 2013
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am UTC 4.110
(also listed as HIS 342C)

This course begins by examining the transition from war, defeat, and military occupation to the economic miracle of the 1960s.  Japan’s high-speed industrial growth established the model for a new kind of accelerated development that has since unfolded across Asia.  These political and economic transformations were also social and personal, encompassing the remaking of family structures and ideologies.  The greatest lessons may lie in the aftermath of high-speed growth, in the transformations that accompanied the deflation of the economic bubble after 1990.  The semester concludes with a consideration of present trajectories and possible futures.

 Texts:

1. Andrew GORDON, A Modern History of Japan, third edition (Oxford University Press, 2013).

2. John W. DOWER, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Aftermath of World War II (W.W. Norton/New Press, 1999).

3. R. Taggart MURPHY, The Weight of the Yen (W. W. Norton, 1997).

4. OCHIAI Emiko, The Japanese Family System in Transition (Tokyo: LTCB International Library Foundation, 1996).

5. Simon PARTNER, Toshié: A Story of Village Life in Twentieth-Century Japan (University of California Press, 2004).

6. Handouts, online, and electronic reserve readings as specified over the course of the semester

 Grading:

• two midterm exams (worth 20% each)

• two essays on class readings (15% each)

• final exam including take-home essays (25%)

• active class participation (5%)

ANS 372 • East/West: Spirit/Intel Encoun

31850 • Fall 2013
Meets W 300pm-600pm GAR 0.120
(also listed as HIS 350L)

This upper-division seminar provides a forum for exploring some spiritual and intellectual encounters of “East” and “West,” with a focus on ideas of mind, spirit, and consciousness. “East” and “West” are relative and relational terms, directions rather than places. They are relative, mutual, and shape-shifting. As metaphors they are generative and multivalent; when one starts to look, one finds many Easts and Wests at play, as various as the “Oriental philosophy” of Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Xuanzang’s “journey to the West” to discover the Heart Sutra, and the Zen journeys of the West Coast beatniks. In this exploration of comparisons and connections, we will encounter a full house of canonical figures including Zhuangzi, Zhu Xi, Avicenna, Ibn ‘Arabi, Hume, Swedenborg, Blake, Nietzsche, Tagore, and Jung, along with some brilliant but less well known thinkers. We will spend much of our time in the open spaces between civilizational control systems. Many of the texts are dense and difficult, reflections of deep and often distant traditions. They need to be read slowly and with care. They also repay sincere inquiry with new vistas and unexpected bounties.

 

Texts:

Readings include Joanna Macy, Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory; Jonathan Spence, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci; and many online readings TBA.

Grading:

1. Participation in class discussion:  one overall grade, worth 20% of the course grade.

2. Eight papers of 1.5 pages each on weekly readings (altogether, 40% of the course grade).

3. Midterm essay (20% of course grade).

4. Final essay (partial revision of midterm essay; 20%).

ANS 341K • Origins Of Modern Japan

31575 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am UTC 3.102
(also listed as HIS 341K)

Same as Asian Studies 341K. This course examines Japan’s early modern age, from the end of the warring-states period in the 1500s to the stirrings of the industrial revolution in the mid 1800s.  The main focus is on the period of government by the Tokugawa shoguns (1600–1867), the final era of samurai rule.  Topics include social and economic change, national isolation and national opening, the Meiji revolution, and the origins of modern nationalism, imperialism, and democracy.   We pay special attention to the subjective experiences of Japanese women and men who lived and created Japan’s distinctive path to modernity.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

Texts:

Conrad TOTMAN, Early Modern Japan, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

KATSU Kokichi, Musui’s Story: The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai, trans. Teruko CRAIG, Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1991.

YAMAKAWA Kikue, Women of the Mito Domain, trans. Kate Wildman NAKAI (Stanford University Press, 2001).And others TBA.

Course requirements:

•    two midterm exams (worth 22.5% each)

•    two essays on class readings (15% each)

•    final essay (20%)

•    active class participation (5%)

Curriculum Vitae


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